The First Baptist Church was established in downtown Des Moines under the leadership of Reverend John Nash in 1851 and is affiliated with the American Baptist Churches, USA. Rev. Nash was a missionary of the American Baptist Home Mission Society.
First Baptist has been served by 22 pastors and has met in five different buildings. Over the years, many social and community ministries have begun as a result of FBC. These include the construction of two retirement residences and a new daycare center in downtown Des Moines. Ministries like the skywalk chaplaincy and the New Wine Cellar for youth were unique and meaningful ministry programs.
First Baptist has responded to other needs in the community, including sharing a space with a new African American church, using the church’s basement as a temporary shelter for the homeless, and giving flood aid in Des Moines in 1993. FBC is also a charter member of the Des Moines Area Religious Council and considers interfaith and ecumenical cooperation to be an essential part of our work. Concerns of social justice and women in ministry have been and continues to be paramount to the Church’s concept of ministry in the 21st Century.
In the year 2000 First Baptist Church began its next phase of ministry in a historic move to Johnston, Iowa. FBC began meeting at the Johnston High School until our new building was finished. The first services were held on May 5, 2002.
First Baptist Church continues to serve as a “regional Church,” touching multiple zip codes across Polk, Warren and Dallas Counties. Locally the congregation has enjoyed a strong relationship with the Johnston Partnership and is a member of the Johnston Chamber of Commerce. In addition to local ministries to the community and Central Iowa, the Church maintains a strong international presence, sending mission teams to serve Belize, Puerto Rico, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Laos, and Nicaragua. The people of FBC are proud of their commitment to serve others through their financial gifts as well. Nearly 23 percent of all revenue is contributed to causes beyond our walls, ranking the Church as number 19 in their denomination for mission giving.